Because love knows no borders
Throughout most of my life, I wasn’t much of a demonstrator. I was raised to be a quiet kid who followed all the rules and tried her best never to make trouble. I used to associate marches and rallies with extremism and fanaticism, and anything that smacked of groupthink made me nervous. But since moving back to the East Coast and joining First Parish in Cambridge, I’ve found myself attending these events with greater frequency and looking at them with new eyes. Trying to effect change means breaking the rules—it’s often hard, scary, and lonely. It’s important for us to know we’re not alone, and it’s important for us to speak for those who cannot. There is power in numbers.
So it was an amazing experience to be with my fellow justice-seekers last Saturday as we joined with thousands of immigrants, workers, and allies to march from Everett City Hall to Chelsea City Hall and onto LoPresti Park in East Boston. Boston and Chelsea are both sanctuary cities and part of Welcoming Massachusetts with Everett’s city council considering the resolutions. A sharp contrast to the situation in Arizona, where an anti-immigrant bill was just signed into law by the governor. It was a beautiful May Day and the sun shone throughout the four hour march and rally. People lined the streets cheering and waving and motorists honked their cars, raised their fists and blew us kisses. Our contingent, which included other UUs from congregations in Medford, Jamaica Plain, Wellesley, and Community and Arlington Street Churches, was carrying a large banner proclaiming Standing on the Side of Love with Immigrant Families. We were continuously greeted with applause, cheers, and smiles. Members of Interfaith Worker Justice and the New Sanctuary Movement marched with us as well as other folks who joined up on the spot. I was so proud to be in the company of so many wonderful, beautiful, and courageous people.
At the rally, our minister, Rev. Fred Small, said, “Love knows no borders. Love is one. And we are one—all of us: one people, one life, one heart (full remarks here).”
And Fred, along with the Rev. Alan Juárez, pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vida, spoke a litany, in part praying for Arizona immigrants, “Pero en especial queremos recordar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Arizona que están pasando por la peor discriminación racial y penalidad en la historia del Estado de Arizona. And especially for our brothers and sisters in Arizona living in fear of arrest and prosecution under racially discriminatory legislation (full litany here).”
As the daughter of immigrants myself, it meant so much to be standing with my faith community in solidarity with the immigrant community. It’s especially in hard times that people on the margins get scapegoated and so it’s more important than ever to get the message out that what we need now is policies that help people, not harm them. So yes, call me a fanatic—for justice. Call me an extremist—for compassion. Because love knows no borders; that’s why my congregation is standing on the side of love with immigrant families.